An interesting and diverting album. It delves into lots of styles including hard rock, blues, jazz and prog, with orchestral backing here and there too.
In some ways this comes over as a mellower counterpart to early Black Sabbath albums. The flashes of jazz are there, along with a fair number of doomy riffs. Save for the swaggering blues rocker "Where Did I Go Wrong", there is a prevailing feeling of doom to the tracks which is conveyed not only by the instrumentation but by the charismatic vocals of Jane Kevern, especially on the track 'War' which has a more-than-passing resemblance to Sabbath's War Pigs in form and subject. What I'd like to know is which was recorded first?
In it's diversity it includes some aspects that I don't often go for; brass/wind instruments and female vocals, the proficient musicianship and thoughtful song structuring ensures they all gel and work well. The singer has a great expressive low-register voice, reminding me of Linda Hoyle from the Vertigo-signed band 'Affinity'. I guess another good comparison would be the similarly diverse proto-prog of T2's album "It'll All Work Out In Boomland".
Article by Richard Morton Jack in October 2004 issue of Record Collector
Room had been gigging around their native Dorset for years before opportunity knocked at the end of 1969. "We came second in Melody Maker's talent contest". remembers guitarist Steve Edge, "and our prize was a recording contract with Deram".
Somewhat staggeringly, Pre-flight - a complex work featuring heavy riffs, tight drumming, frenzied guitar solos and the powerful, distinctive voice of Jane Kevern - was recorded in a single day the following summer. In the producer's chair was Mickey Clarke, red-hot from overseeing Rolf Harris's syrupy Two Little Boys, giving some indication of the bizarrely incongruous nature of the industry at the time. True to the progressive rulebook, the songs are orchestrated and split into sections, but self-indulgence is largely avoided in favour of taut jamming. despite its appeal to modern prog connoisseurs, the group wasn't overjoyed with the finished product.
"I was disappointed with the selection of tracks", Edge admits. "Most of the LP was quite depressing, whereas we'd cut some brighter tunes." True, the album has a frequently despondent tone, reaching its apogee on the epic closer Cemetery Junction - but it also showcases some of the most exciting musicianship in the progressive field, especially on the biting Andromeda and the sinister War.
Housed in a memorable carton sleeve designed by their bassist, Roy Putt, Pre-Flight sold very poorly on release and is barely ever offered for sale today. Though it's as ambitious as anything in the genre, when it failed to take off the already-jaded Room regrettably fell apart.
Record Collector - October 2004